Are you wondering how contraception works in dogs? We have already explained how sex works with dogs. If you don’t want any offspring, contraception is important. You can find out here how sensible it is and what methods are available.
Pregnancy and birth are physically and psychologically stressful and sometimes dangerous. Simply mating two animals without genetic background knowledge, knowledge about breeding and behaviour, the necessary space and financial possibilities is definitely not recommended. Therefore, you should think carefully about whether puppies are really desirable.
What is the purpose of contraception in dogs?
In principle, it is clearly about not having any unwanted offspring. In this case, the desire/not desire for puppies does not lie with your pet, but with you. Therefore, you are also responsible for the offspring of your pet.
What methods are there now?
There are several methods of contraception, which will now be discussed in more detail.
What precautions can be taken?
Don’t panic, a female can only get pregnant during the so-called standing days. So extra caution is needed during this phase of the cycle. This is usually once or twice a year. Do not let your dog off the leash during this time and be careful not to walk her at the “peak times”, especially to avoid putting male dogs under stress. If there is an intact male dog living in the same household, never leave them unattended and/or separate them temporarily.
If you are attentive at this time, this is a good contraceptive method and does not affect the body.
Hormonal contraception in dogs
- Hormone injection: This is comparable to the pill for women. It is injected into the female dog about 3 months after she comes into heat and must be repeated every 4-6 months (depending on the preparation). If the dog still comes into heat, the interval between injections must be shortened. After discontinuing the injections, the female dog can become pregnant again. However, these injections usually contain progestin, which is often associated with severe side effects to the uterus and uterine wall.
- Hormone chip: In so-called “chemical castration”, a GnRH implant is injected under the skin of the animal, which releases hormones. The active ingredient here is deslorelin. For the next 6-12 months, sperm and testosterone production is significantly reduced. The effect and side effects are the same as with castration, except that after the hormone chip has expired, everything is more or less the same. Therefore, the method is more useful for testing and is only a permanent solution in exceptional cases.
The administration of hormones has an influence on the entire organism and can promote certain diseases. Hormonal contraceptive methods are mainly used when, for example, a breeding dog is taking a “break” but is supposed to give birth to puppies again later. Especially preparations containing progestogen are often associated with severe side effects on the uterus and uterine region. It is advisable to consult your veterinarian.
Caution: With some preparations, the animals are still capable of procreation for up to two months.
Sterilisation or castration is a safe option for birth control, as pregnancy is impossible after a properly performed procedure. Depending on which option is chosen, the sexual cycle remains intact or is stopped. This issue can also be important for male dogs that show excessive sexual behaviour. Discuss with your vet and possibly behaviourist which procedure would be best for your dog.
Dogspiral is a coil for dogs that uses copper or silver ions to inhibit sperm. However, few vets offer this, and it is not entirely clear how reliable the effect is.
What to do when it happens?
The “morning-after pill” is also available for our dogs in the form of so-called anti-hormones. Never separate the dogs during sexual intercourse, this can cause nasty injuries. If fertilisation has occurred, anti-progesterone is injected so that the egg does not implant in the uterus. This is given in the first 10 days after mating, but for ethical reasons you should decide to have it as soon as possible. It works relatively reliably, but there is a residual risk that individual foetuses survive, sometimes with severe impairments. Therefore, it should only be used in an emergency.
There are many methods of contraception for dogs, but not all of them are risk-free. Which method is most suitable for your pet depends on many factors and must be decided individually.